ASEAN stands in solidarity with the flood-affected communities in Lao PDR
Handover of ASEAN relief items in response to floods, caused by recent tropical storm
VIENTIANE, 12 September 2019 – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) family through its Jakarta-based humanitarian coordinating centre, the AHA Centre, has conveyed its solidarity with the Government of Lao PDR and the communities affected by the recent storm and floods, and has mobilised its humanitarian relief efforts. Today, the AHA Centre officially handed over ASEAN relief items, in support of the government-led response, received by Mr. Vilayphong Sisomvang, Acting Director-General of the Social Welfare Department, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare of Lao PDR. The relief items, comprised of family kits, personal hygiene kits, kitchen sets, mosquito nets and jerry cans, were airlifted by A400M military aircraft of the Royal Malaysian Air Force, from the Disaster Emergency Logistics System for ASEAN (DELSA) regional stockpile in Subang, Malaysia. The assistance is intended for over 1,500 people in six provinces affected by the disaster.
The floods caused by Tropical Storm ‘Podul’ and Tropical Depression ‘Kajiki’ left the provinces of Attapeu, Champasak, Khammouan, Saravan, Savannakhet and Sekong devastated. On 7 September 2019, the Prime Minister, National Government leaders, and leaders of provincial authorities of Lao PDR, visited the affected areas to assess the status of the affected population and to lead the ongoing emergency response. The Prime Minister, on behalf of the Government, presented 1.2 billion Kip (US$136,535.71) to authorities to aid victims.
The AHA Centre has been intensifying its disaster monitoring efforts since 27 August 2019 when the formation of Tropical Storm ‘Podul’ was first identified, followed by the formation of Tropical Depression ‘Kajiki’ on 2 September 2019. In the spirit of “One ASEAN, One Response”, the AHA Centre immediately reinforced the Government’s response in the areas of coordination, information management, rapid needs assessment, and deployment of ASEAN relief items supported by the Government of Japan through its Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF); and the Direct Relief. The Government of Malaysia provided support for airlifting the relief items; and the UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Subang, Malaysia provided ground handling support to load the relief items to the RMAF A400M aircraft.
Speaking at the handover ceremony today at the Wattay International Airport in Vientiane, the AHA Centre Executive Director, Ms. Adelina Kamal, said “Our hearts and prayers are with the communities affected by the floods. The AHA Centre as a centre established by the ten ASEAN Member States including Lao PDR, stands ready to enhance country-led response in alleviating the suffering of the flood-affected communities.” Acting Director-General of Social Welfare, Mr. Vilayphong Sisomvang, welcomed ASEAN’s solidarity and the support of the AHA Centre. Ambassadors of ASEAN Member States based in Vientiane also witnessed the handover. Under the leadership of the Government of Lao PDR, the AHA Centre operates seamlessly, plugged-in to support the nationally-led response. This is reflected in any of the Centre’s previous emergency operations, including in the assistance to the Government of Lao PDR last year in responding to floods affecting 13 provinces, due to heavy rainfall brought by Tropical Storm Son-Tinh and exacerbated by flash floods from the collapse of the Xepien-Xe Nam Noyu Dam.
The AHA Centre will remain on stand-by and continue to monitor the situation in Lao PDR and shall disseminate follow up information as reflected in its website (www.ahacentre.org).
About the AHA Centre:
The AHA Centre is an inter-governmental organisation established by ten ASEAN Member States on 17 November 2011 with the aim to facilitate cooperation and coordination amongst ASEAN Member States and with relevant United Nations and international organisations in promoting regional collaboration in disaster management. The AHA Centre is based in Jakarta, Indonesia.